All hail the unlimited MetroCard JUL 16 2008
"I think it's absolutely changed travel habits in the New York region, and it's been a boon for the economy as well," said Andrew Albert, who represents transit riders on the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "Where once you might have used it more sparingly because you had a finite number of trips, you're more likely to take a trip during your lunch break, go shopping perhaps or go to dinner somewhere," he said.
Update: Mike Frumin notes that the Times excluded from their graph an important piece of information: the break-even point of the 30-day MetroCard. I used to get a monthly card but now pay by the ride because I don't take the subway everyday anymore and would therefore find myself in Frumin's "losing $$$$$" zone.